AMA - MBB 2nd year analyst in EU

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Abrix123 - Certified Professional
Rank: Baboon | banana points 151

I'm a 2nd year analyst at one of the top 3 consultancies, based in a major Western European city and mainly covering FIG engagements. Before that, I studied Economics at a no-name school, followed by a masters in management at a target b-school in Europe. I joined the firm directly as an FT hire after graduation (no internship).

WSO has given me so much insights over the course of the last years and I'd happy to give back by doing this AMA, which I hope will be useful for those who are interested in a career in management consulting.

Comments (21)

Aug 4, 2018

Did you choose mainly FIG projects or got staffed on them by chance?

Aug 6, 2018

Got staffed on them by chance, but I don't dislike that sector coverage.

Aug 6, 2018
  1. Did you study at your "no-name" in the US or Europe?
  2. Did you have a job in between undergrad/MBA?
  3. Chances of a US grad from "no-name" landing a FT at your branch?
Aug 6, 2018
  1. I studied in Europe, specifically in my home country
  2. No, I went there straight after graduation, but did some internships during uni and my masters (mainly in banking though)
  3. It depends on a variety of factors, but generally speaking odds are stacked against you, due to (a) language barriers, as native fluency in the local language is required, (b) brand considerations, as most consultancies tend to hire from a small pool of specific target schools and (c) cultural constraints, as you're probably not familiar with how things are done here.

It'd be easier if you were studying for a masters in a recognised European school and had a solid reason to move here.

Aug 15, 2018

As a EU student in the UK, would I be better off applying to the London office ( I go to a target school ) or applying back to my home country?

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Aug 6, 2018

Are there any stereotypes about how European offers differ from US offices?

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Aug 6, 2018

I've never done a project in the US, so
I can't say much about how US offices differ from the European offices.

From my understanding, the main difference is that in the US there tends to be more travelling involved vs. most European offices, as in Europe it tends to be quite locally-oriented (German consultants mainly work on projects based in Germany, so do the French/Italian/Spanish ones), with the only exception being the London office.

That being said, there are a lot differences/stereotypes within the cluster of European offices (e.g., Germans have the reputation for creating 100+ pages backup documents with a font size of 8, consultants in Portugal/Spain/Italy are much more overworked that their peers, etc..) and I guess it's the same in the US.

Aug 15, 2018

Where do the consultants based in London travel to?

Aug 7, 2018

Hi, thanks for doing this!

I have some questions too:

  1. Did you have any FIG-related internship under your belt when you first joined? And are you considering to experiment projects in other industries in the short-medium term?
  2. How easy / hard it is to get staffed on international projects (both in Europe and outside) from your office?
  3. Talking about your colleagues background, do you have any idea of the ratio of (a) locals vs internationals and (b) educated in the country vs abroad?

Thanks again for the AMA!

Aug 6, 2018
  1. I interned at a couple of retail/commercial banks, within their internal strategy divisions. Yes, I'd like to try out different industries, mainly CPG and Food and Beverages, but due to (1) bad timing and (2) my previous experiences, I almost always got staffed on FIG projects so far
  2. My firm is pretty open about it, so it's quite easy to do projects abroad (you can either do single projects or decide to spend 6-12 months in another office as a "secondment")
  3. 80% are locals. As for educational background, 70% did their undergraduate here, while 90% of those at a post-MBA level pursued their MBA abroad (with M7 + Insead + LBS being the most popular choices)
Sep 5, 2018

Is it possible for you to switch your industry focus? At my current firm, I came to understand that roles aren't so fluid even if I pick up skills and trainings to transition to a new role within the firm. I have considered making a lateral move.

Aug 13, 2018

Do you think your no-name undergrad school was seen as something negative on your application? I am from a no-name school in the USA and want to get a Master in Europe. Will my undergrad school harm me in any way?

Also, what do you think was the most important part of the application? ( essay, recommendations, work experience)

Thank you!

Aug 6, 2018

Yes and no. Being from a no-name school obviously puts you at a great disadvantage, especially at the screening stage of the recruiting process.

My best advice would be to network hard before your interviews, emphasise areas that may compensate for that and find solid justifications around why you attended that school and what you learned from that experience. Consultants love to see improving trajectories, so if you're able to spin that experience in your favour you'll earn extra points for that.

As for your school application, I think the most important factor is your motivation regarding why you want to attend that school. Clearly specify what you want to do in your career after your masters and explain how that school/course is going to help you achieve that.

Good luck!

Aug 13, 2018

Thank you for your reply.

Where do you believe companies are more willing to hire non-locals (not Europeans)? (the UK or France) If deciding, for example, between LCE or HEC Paris, where are better career prospects?

Aug 7, 2018

If I could add on the networking point, how much do you think it is key to land interviews?

I've always been told that in Europe networking is much less effective and a strong candidate without hooks will always be ahead of an average one that just happens to know consultants (while I guess we could make a different case if the candidates have similar background).

Aug 13, 2018

Did you have relevant internships? i.e. one at another MBB or an IB one?
and do you speak the local language?

Aug 6, 2018

I never interned in consulting / IB, but worked in the strategy division of a few retail/commercial banks. The type of work was very similar to what I'm doing now, but the pace was significantly slower and the general quality of the output was lower as well.

Generally speaking, I'd say that you don't necessarily need to have relevant consulting-type of experience to land a job as junior analyst at one of the MBBs. But coming from prestigious schools / doing internships at prestigious firms is quite important.

Yes, it's my native language.

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Aug 14, 2018

Thanks for doing this.

I'm an undergrad at a UK target and am considering getting into banking in Western Europe.

How do you think the banking/finance scene in London will change post-Brexit? Which city do you think jobs may go to?

Aug 6, 2018

I thinks it's a very complex topic and I surely don't have the right competences to say what's gonna happen post-Brexit.

My 2 cents is that within the banking sector London would become less central for most business operations and most regional offices would gain from it. However, IMO, as an analyst your life won't change much, expect for the re-balancing of job opportunities (a bit fewer in London and slightly more in other offices).